Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Hourihane, Abraham give Villa Championship playoff win over West Brom

Grealish has not been on the losing side for Villa since October 26 Grealish has not been on the losing side for Villa since October 26 Credit ACTION IMAGES
Shannon Reynolds | 13 May, 2019, 13:13

Aston Villa came from behind to seize the early initiative in their Championship play-off semi-final against West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, and after the final whistle their fans took to social media to react to the man who came off the bench to inspire the comeback.

Dwight Gayle gave West Brom the lead but was later sent off and will miss the second leg on Tuesday. That's where we want him on the ball in the final third. Even after the awful performance against Ipswich, I was not too anxious because I know what we're capable of.

Villa won a penalty four minutes later when midfielder Jack Grealish was brought down by defender Kieran Gibbs and Abraham, on loan from Premier League side Chelsea, held his nerve to slot the ball in for the victor. "We were nowhere near our best today but found a way to win, which is always important".

Albion's woes were compounded with two minutes left when Gayle slid in to reach James Morrison's cross but clattered Steer and saw red.

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For 75 minutes, Grealish was kept relatively quiet by Stefan Johansen and Chris Brunt but a player of his talent only needs one moment to change a game.

He is now banned for Tuesday's second leg and caretaker boss Jimmy Shan questioned referee Graham Scott's decisions. I thought we frustrated them for large parts of the game.

"He's got booked for allegedly time-wasting for the throw-ins". Someone like him gets the ball and he keeps going and keeps going.

Those worries were erased, though, when the hosts turned the game with two goals in four minutes. He's obviously a big player for us, that's obviously a big frustration. Albion have a chance at the Hawthorns, but they will need to improve massively.

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